Monday, April 15, 2024

OAU VC crisis: Workers beat up NASU national officers for demanding hand-over of union’s assets

For allegedly attempting to take over assets in the custody of the dissolved executives of the Non-Academic Staff Union of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, some national officers of the union were on Friday evening beaten to stupor by irate workers of the institution.
The National Headquarters of NASU, had in a letter dated June 21, 2016, dissolved its OAU Branch Committee for embarking on a protest against the appointment of a new vice chancellor for the institution.
Our correspondent gathered that the NASU National Executives had ordered its OAU branch not to embark on the protest but it disobeyed, resulting in the dissolution of its executives.
Trouble, however, started on Friday when OAU NASU members pounced on their national officers and engaged them in a scuffle for demanding that the dissolved executives of the branch should hand over to them the union’s assets in their possession.
Our correspondent learnt that the national body of the union had sent representatives to the institution to take possession of the assets of NASU-OAU, when the fisticuffs ensued.
The workers were said to have seized the vehicle that conveyed the representatives of the union from its National Headquarters to the OAU campus during the melee, which lasted for about two hours.
A student who witnessed the fracas but pleaded not be named, explained that the manner at which the national officials approached the workers led to the crisis.
A member of NASU OAU told our correspondent, “They (the national officers) thought we are fools and would compromise. After fighting and risking all our lives, they want to come and take over all that we possess. Even if our executives agree, do they think that we will allow them.
“We did not injure anyone. Members only prevented the handing over from taking place. We didn’t beat them except that we slapped one of them with a baldhead several times.”
When contacted, Chairman of NASU OAU, Oluwole Odewunmi, explained that the leadership of the union were also shocked at the development.
Odewunmi said himself and other executives of the union had agreed to hand over to the NASU National Headquarters but were surprised when branch members started revolting, demanding that they should not take such an action.
According to him: “We are actually prepared to hand over but our members acted contrary. We had documented all the assets and ready to account to them (representatives) but unfortunately some of our members refused to let us hand over the assets to the representatives sent.
“There was no injury and I have ensured that the vehicle the representatives brought is returned back to them. We did not see the handing over as a big deal because we are sure that everything will be returned after the crisis has been resolved.”
Meanwhile, NASU National General Secretary, Mr. Peters Adeyemi, said on the phome thatbthe university branch had been dissolved, wondering why the workers attacked their colleagues.
“To the best of my knowledge, that branch has been dissolved and it is even in the public space that they have changed the name to Integrity Workers Union. I have not been able to reach the representatives that we sent for details yet,” he said.
The OAU had since been shut down indefinitely by its authorities and students asked to vacate the campus, following continous protests by workers over the VC crisis.
Despite the Federal Government’s dissolution of the institution’s ‎Governing Council and sacking the appointed VC, Prof. Ayobami Salami, pending the determination of the matter in court, the university workers have continued to keep vigil on the campus to ensure that none of the principal officers of the school gained access to the Senate Building.
Students of the institution had, during several press conferences and on social media, appealed to the Federal Government to appoint an acting vice-chancellor and order the re-opening of the institution.

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